No. 8 Creighton Prepares for Showdown at No. 1 Akron Sunday
OMAHA, Neb. (Nov. 24) - The No. 8 Creighton men's soccer team continues play in the 2012 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship tournament this weekend with an NCAA Third Round match at No. 1 Akron slated for 3:30 p.m. CT Sunday at the Zips' FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field.
The Bluejays (16-3-2), the No. 12 national seed of the NCAA Tournament, defeated No. 21 Washington 4-2 last Sunday to advance after receiving a first round bye as a top-16 seed. Akron (18-1-2), the No. 5 national seed, defeated Michigan 2-1 at home in an NCAA Second Round match Sunday afternoon.
This year marks the 20th NCAA tournament appearance for Creighton all-time. CU is 27-16-5 all-time in the tourney with four College Cup appearances including the 2011 season. Akron is making its 23rd NCAA tournament appearance all-time, earning a postseason berth for the 11th time in 12 seasons. After Sunday's victory, the Zips are 18-20-4 all-time in the tourney and are seeking their fourth College Cup appearance after winning the 2010 National Championship.
The Bluejays and Zips have only met twice in program history, with UA leading the series 1-0-1. In 2010 Akron claimed a 1-0 home win over Creighton. Earlier this season CU settled for a 1-1 draw in Omaha on Aug. 31. The teams hold the two longest win streaks in the nation. CU comes in on an 11-match win streak while Akron has won 15 straight contests.
Current Creighton head coach Elmar Bolowich is in his second year after guiding the Bluejays to their fourth College Cup appearance in program history in 2011 during his first season at CU. His staff won MVC Coaching Staff of the Year in his debut season with the Jays. That followed a 22-year stint at North Carolina, where he guided the Tar Heels to 15 NCAA Tournaments, four College Cup appearances and the 2001 National Title. Bolowich continues his 17th NCAA Tournament with 24-13-5 record all-time.
Bolowich has recent tournament history with Akron. UA slipped past Bolowich's North Carolina squad on penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw at the 2009 College Cup semifinals.
Last Sunday Creighton's offense fired on all cylinders resulting in four goals on the night - the most for the Jays all season. CU also put Washington's defense back on its heels as the Jays' four goals tied the most allowed this season by the Huskies.
11/18: W, 4-2 No. 21 Washington - Morrison Stadium
11/25: at No. 1 Akron, 3:30 p.m. CT - Akron, Ohio
What's At Stake
The CU-UA winner either will travel to No. 7-ranked and No. 4-seeded Connecticut (16-3-1) or host No. 9-ranked and No. 13-seeded New Mexico (17-3-1) in an NCAA Quarterfinal match Nov. 30 - Dec. 2.
Following the Jays
This NCAA Tournament Third Round match will feature free live video, live audio as well as live stats provided by CBS Gametracker throughout the NCAA Tournament. Fans can access all three via links at GoCreighton.com prior to the contest.
Sunday's match will be broadcast locally on Akron radio station WARF 1350 AM and online or on your smart phone via the IHeartRadio app.
Limited reserved tickets - both chair back and bleacher back seats - are available for $15. General admission ($10) tickets are also on sale. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on-line at GoZips.com/tickets. Fans can also purchase tickets Sunday at Gate 1 of FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field, starting at 3 p.m.
Scouting the No. 8 Creighton Bluejays (16-3-2)
Creighton advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the 11th time in program history, its fourth sweet 16 appearance in the past five seasons, after the Bluejays knocked off Washington 4-2 on Nov. 18. The victory marked CU's fifth consecutive win in their NCAA Tournament debut game dating back to 2007.
CU got on the scoreboard early against the Huskies last Sunday as senior Brent Kallman scored his third career goal, the defender's second score in four matches, in the sixth minute to put the Bluejays out front 1-0. Washington tied the score at 1-1 in the 48th minute. The goal was the first surrendered by the Creighton defense at home since Sept. 22 - a span of over 13 scoreless halves.
Just under seven minutes later CU freshman Timo Pitter scored on a cross from sophomore Jose Ribas for his team-leading ninth goal of the season to put Creighton ahead for good. Ribas added another assist on senior co-captain Andrew Ribeiro's goal in front of the net in the 66th minute to put Creighton up 3-1. The goal would stand as the game-winner - marking the second match in a row that Ribeiro scored the winning score this postseason. Each of his last seven goals have been game-winning shots, three this season and four in 2011.
In the 86th minute, Pitter added an assist to his point total as freshman Christian Blandon scored his third career goal as the Jays built a 4-1 advantage. UW scored a goal three minutes later in the 89th minute off of a direct kick to yield the final score of 4-2.
The Bluejays and Akron have never met in the NCAA Tournament. UA leads the series 1-0-1. In 2010 Akron claimed a 1-0 home win over Creighton. Earlier this season CU settled for a 1-1 draw in Omaha on Aug. 31.
Entering the first week of the NCAA Tournament, Creighton ranks No. 10 nationally with a 0.48 shutout percentage (10-of-21 matches). The Jays also rank No. 23 nationally for team goals against average (0.82) and stand at No. 26 in the country in save percentage (0.822)
Freshman Timo Pitter leads the team with 22 points, nine goals and 63 shot attempts this season. Senior co-captain Jose Gomez is second on the Jays with six goals and 20 points in 2012. Gomez and sophomore Jose Ribas are tied atop the CU stat sheet with eight assists. Freshman goalkeeper Jeff Gal posted his 12th consecutive victory last Sunday. He ranks eighth nationally in goals against average (0.657) and stands ninth in the country for save percentage (.843).
Scouting the Akron Zips (18-1-2)
Akron, the No. 5 national seed, defeated Michigan 2-1 at home in an NCAA Second Round game Sunday afternoon. UA is making its 23rd NCAA tournament appearance all-time, earning a postseason berth for the 11th time in 12 seasons. After Sunday's victory, the Zips are 18-20-4 all-time in the tourney and are seeking their fourth College Cup appearance after winning the 2010 National Championship.
Akron has won its last 15 matches and is unbeaten in its last 16. During its current win streak, UA has outscored its opponents, 36-2. The Zips are undefeated at 10-0-1 on their home field this season and have lost just once at FirstEnergy Stadium - Cub Cadet Field in the last five years. Since 2008, UA has gone 55-1-6 (.935) at home, including a record of 8-0-1 in the NCAA Tournament.
UA is ranked No. 2 in the nation in the RPI and No. 1 in the latest NSCAA poll. The Zips are making their fifth-straight appearance in the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament. Akron is 2-2-0 in the Round of 16 since 2008, including a perfect 2-0 mark on its home field.
Akron head coach Caleb Porter owns an all-time record of 11-4-2 at the NCAA Tournament and has led the Zips to the Round of 16 in each of the last five seasons. UA is 8-1-1 (.850) at home over the last seven seasons during the NCAA Tournament. The Zips earned a first-round bye at the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Akron leads the nation in shutout percentage at 0.76. The Zips rank second nationally in save percentage (0.883) and in team goals against average (0.33). UA is No. 5 in total assists (46) nationwide and ranks No. 6 in the country with 136 total points.
UA junior Reinaldo Brenes leads the Zips with 10 goals in 2012. Akron senior Scott Caldwell leads the team with 10 assists and 28 points.
Junior David Meves has played every match in net for the Zips this season, making 52 saves. In 21 starts, he carries a 0.326 goals against average and a 0.881 save percentage to rank second nationally in each category, respectively.
The Last Meeting
OMAHA, Neb.(Aug. 31, 2012) - The No. 2 Creighton men's soccer team battled No. 7 Akron to a 1-1 Draw on the opening day of play at the Ameritas Classic at Morrison Stadium. The draw sent both the Zips and the Jays to 1-0-1 on the season. It also extended Creighton's home undefeated streak to 17 games.
Creighton took the lead in the 24th minute as junior Sean Kim delivered his third goal of the season. In the 57th minute, Akron broke through for the game-tying goal as Alfred Koroma headed in a goal with 30:36 remaining.
Akron appeared to have scored the game winning goal in the 97th minute, but the shot by Aodhan Quinn was waived off by an offside penalty.
Sophomore Alex Bolowich earned his first start of the season in the goal, grabbing four saves. Akron's David Meves, meanwhile, finished with three. Akron closed the contest with a 15-12 edge in shots and claimed a 6-3 nod on corner kicks.
NCAA Tournament History
Creighton is making its 20th NCAA Tournament appearance, all in the past 21 seasons (missed in 2009). CU is 27-16-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 12-4-0 at home and 11-1-0 at Morrison Stadium.
The Jays have now won at least one NCAA Tournament match in 15 of their 21 trips. The Jays are 17-6-4 in their last nine appearances, advancing to the quarterfinals in five of their last nine trips to the tourney.
CU appeared in 17 straight NCAA Tournaments between 1992 and 2008, before missing the 2009 NCAA event despite an RPI of 35. The Jays advanced to their fourth College Cup in program history last season.
Against the Field
Creighton has played five matches against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, going 1-3-1 against those squads. Last weekend CU toppled Washington 4-2 to record its first win against the field.
Creighton tied No. 5 seed Akron 1-1 in Omaha in the second game of the season on Aug. 31.
The Jays' only three losses of the season came at the hands of tourney squads. CU fell 2-1 to then-No. 14 Old Dominion on Sept. 14 and dropped a 3-1 contest to No. 8 seed St. Louis on Sept. 22. Creighton later fell 2-0 at No. 11 seed Tulsa on Sept. 25. Since that setback, CU is 11-0-1 and enters the NCAA tournament on an 11-match win streak.
Tough Road to the College Cup
Creighton is a part of the only section in the NCAA Third Round to advance all four seeded teams to the round of 16. Joining the No. 12-seeded Jays is No. 4 Connecticut, No. 5 Akron and No. 13 New Mexico. Of the other dozen teams still in the bracket, only seven seeded squads remain in the three other sections combined.
Creighton's 11-game winning streak matches its longest of last season when the Jays won 11 straight including three 2011 NCAA tournament wins. The 2000 CU team also won 11 straight in order to reach the NCAA title match.
CU entered the 2012 NCAA Tournament on a 10-game winning streak. It marks the second-longest streak entering the NCAA postseason in school history behind the 1993 team, which entered the tourney on a 19-game run.
CU vs. Top 25
Creighton is 1-1-1 against top 25 teams this year after a 4-2 decision over Washington last weekend. A 1-1 draw against then-No.7 Akron on Aug. 31 and a 2-1 loss to then-No. 14 Old Dominion on Sept. 14 account for the other matches. CU is 62-43-11 all-time against the Coaches' Top 25.
Cutting It Close
After a 2-1 victory over SIUE on Nov. 11 in the MVC Final, the Jays are 11-1 in games decided by one goal in 2012. A 3-2 double overtime win over Drake in the MVC semifinals Nov. 9 marked CU's third overtime victory of the year. The Bluejays are undefeated at 3-0-2 in extra time this season.
Double the Titles
CU captured the MVC Tournament title in the same season as the MVC regular-season championship for the eighth time this season. The Jays have been double champs in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012.
MVC Tournament History
After a 2-1 title victory over SIUE, the Bluejays are 33-8-1 all-time MVC tournament record, the most tournament victories in league history. CU has won more tournament titles, 13, than all other MVC teams combined.
The Jays have appeared in 16 of the 22 MVC tournament championship matches, including six of the last eight. The Jays have lost in the quarterfinals once, the semifinals five times, in the championship match three times and won the other 13 tournaments in which they've appeared.
The Jays are the only team in league history with more than three tournament titles.
Men's Soccer Claims Multiple MVC Honors
The Creighton men's soccer team claimed three specialty awards and placed six student-athletes on Missouri Valley All-Conference teams, the league announced Nov. 8 at the Men's Soccer Championship banquet hosted by Bradley.
Senior co-captain Jose Gomez became the 11th player in program history to take home MVC Player of the Year Honors. The Bluejays have won the award on 12 occasions as Ethan Finlay earned the accolade for a second time last season.
Fellow senior co-captain Andrew Ribeiro claimed MVC Defensive Player of the Year recognition. It marks the ninth time that a CU player won claimed the award.
The MVC recognized CU's Timo Pitter as the Freshman of the Year. Creighton first-year players have claimed four of the last five freshman honors in the league. Pitter is the seventh Bluejay to earn the laurel.
Sophomore midfielder Eric Miller joined Gomez, Ribeiro and Pitter on the MVC First Team. Sophomore Jose Ribas was the only CU member of the MVC Second Team. Freshman defender Brendan Hines-Ike joined Pitter on the MVC All-Freshman team this year.
Jays Claim 12th MVC Regular Season Title
After a 2-1 defeat at Evansville (11/3), the Jays clinched their third straight Valley title and a bye into the MVC Tournament semifinals. CU claimed its second outright crown in three seasons.
No Losses in Title Run
Creighton finished 2012 with a 5-0-1 mark in MVC play. The last time CU finished the conference season without a loss was in 2008 (4-0-1). The Jays have now finished atop the MVC without a loss on seven occasions (1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2007, 2008 and 2012).
Creighton captured its 12th MVC regular-season title this year marking its third straight crown and its sixth in the last seven years. The title also gives head coach Elmar Bolowich back-to-back-to-back regular-season titles (after winning the ACC at North Carolina in 2010).
Dominant Defense Ties MVC Goals Allowed Record
With one goal allowed in conference play this year Creighton's shutout defense tied the MVC team record for the fewest goals allowed in a Valley season set last year by CU.
The 2012 Jays remained ahead of three teams, including CU's 1995 squad, who shared the previous all-time low record of two goals allowed in a conference season prior to 2011.
CU logged 12 consecutive shutouts of MVC opponents from Oct. 12, 2011 through Nov. 3, 2012. The Bluejays' defensive shutout streak ended after a total of 1,293 minutes.
Creighton tied its single-season consecutive home shutout record (1999, 2003, and 2011) this season by recording five straight clean sheets at home - all in October.
Coming into the postseason, the Jays have blanked opponents for the last 457:07 in Morrison Stadium dating back to Sept. 22.
Jays Rank No. 11 in Latest NCAA RPI
Creighton ranks at No. 11 in the latest Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) released by the NCAA on Nov. 11. The Jays moved up three spots from No. 14 after winning the MVC Tournament Title.
One and Done
CU has won its last 11 games that were decided by a 1-0 score, including a 6-0 record this season. In 2011 CU posted seven 1-0 wins - the most in school history. The 2002 College Cup also posted six 1-0 victories. Head coach Elmar Bolowich is 14-2 at CU in matches that end 1-0 and is 27-4 over the past four years.
Freshman Timo Pitter continues to rapidly tap the ball past opposing goalkeepers this season. His score against Washington (11/18) was his team-leading ninth of the season. Pitter's nine scores are the most by any CU freshman since Byron Dacy also tapped in nine goals in 2005.
Miller Claims First Scholar-Athlete Accolade
Sophomore Eric Miller claimed his first MVC Scholar-Athlete Award earlier last week after scoring his first career goal and notching his third career assist in a 3-2 double overtime win over Drake in the MVC Semifinals Nov. 9. He also played in all 90 minutes of Creighton's 2-1 win over SIUE in the MVC Tournament Final Nov. 11.
Prior to the conference tourney Miller was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VII team. He also won recognition on the 2012 All-MVC First Team as well as the 2012 MVC All-Tournament Team. Miller started all 17 matches for the Bluejays in which he has played.
Miller, who has a 3.71 cumulative grade-point average in business, has played 90 or more minutes in 13 matches in 2012. This fall he was selected to the U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team, playing over 220 minutes in three games at the Marbella Cup in Spain.
Ribas Earns fourth Scholar-Athlete Award
Sophomore Jose Ribas earned MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week honors Nov. 20.
The award is the third time he has earned the MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week. He also claimed the award Sept. 19, Oct. 24 and Nov. 7.
The Guayaquil, Ecuador, native posted his seventh and eighth assist of the year in the Jays' 4-2 victory over Washington Nov. 18.
Ribas, who has a 3.60 cumulative grade point average in business, is tied for the team lead with eight assists this season.
Pitter Collects First Career MVC Honor
Freshman Timo Pitter claimed MVC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts in the Bluejays' 2-1 win over Evansville on Nov. 3; the league announced Nov. 5.
Pitter's conference accolade is the first of his career. The MVC has recognized CU players with weekly awards six times this season including once in each of the past four weeks.
The freshman from Oberschwarzach, Germany, scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season to lead Creighton to a 2-1 victory at Evansville Nov. 3 and help the Jays clinch an outright MVC regular season title and the top seed in the Valley tournament.
Bolowich and the College Cup
CU head coach Elmar Bolowich is among 10 coaches who have appeared in four straight College Cups, but he was the first to do so with two different teams.
The 2011 season marked his fifth appearance in the College Cup, joining 11 other head coaches that have reached five Cups.
Bolowich and Bob Guelker (SIUE and St. Louis) are the only coaches to take two different teams to the Cup.
Two Jays Earn Academic All-District Honors
Two men's soccer players earned 2012 Capital One Academic All-District VII First Team honors as voted on by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) the organization announced Nov. 1.
Junior Bruno Castro and sophomore Eric Miller were each recognized for work both on the field and in the classroom. The honor is the first for each player.
As First Team All-District members Castro and Miller will be placed on a national ballot for a chance to be Academic All-America selections while competing against student-athletes from across the country.
Ribeiro Collects Third MVC Honor of 2012
Senior Andrew Ribeiro MVC Defensive Player of the Week honors Oct. 29 for efforts in the Jays' 1-0 win vs. Missouri State Oct. 27.
Ribeiro's conference accolade is the third of his career and in 2012 following previous honors this season on Oct. 15 and Sept. 4.
The senior from Green Bay, Wis., attempted one shot and played every minute of the Jays' 1-0 victory over the Bears. The senior co-captain has played all but eight minutes this season for the Bluejays.
Gomez Claims MVC Accolade
Senior Jose Gomez claimed MVC Offensive Player of the Week honors Oct. 23.
Gomez's conference accolade is the second of his career and in 2012. The senior was also honored by the conference earlier this season on Sept. 4 after the Ameritas Classic.
One week after earning National Player of the Week honors, he continued his offensive prowess in front of Bluejay fans at Morrison Stadium. Gomez scored the game-winning goal off of a crossing pass in a 3-0defeat of UMKC Oct. 16. He later assisted on another.
Eric Miller Makes Return after Playing for U.S. Under-20 National Team
Sophomore Eric Miller returned to the Jays after missing three matches playing for U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team in October.
U.S. National Team head coach Tab Ramos led the team in Spain's 2012 Marbella Cup.
Miller played 69 minutes off the bench in a 2-1 loss to Canada in Marbella on Oct. 10. The U.S. rebounded to beat Scotland 2-0 Oct. 12; Miller saw 63 minutes of match time.
Miller made his first start on Oct. 16, playing all 90 minutes in a 3-2 win over Azerbaijan.
Jays Celebrate 600th Match with a Win
Creighton posted a 1-0 win over Missouri State Oct. 27 in the program's 600th match. CU is now 394-153-57 in 30 seasons of men's soccer.
Gomez Climbing Morrison Record Book
After scoring a goal and notching an assist against UMKC Oct. 16, senior Jose Gomez tied Tim Bohnenkamp (2004-07) for No. 1 with 15 career assists inside Morrison Stadium.
Gomez's goal moved him into a tie for No. 5 all-time on the stadium list at nine scores. Currently he ranks No. 2 in shots on goal with 37 and No. 3 in points with 33 at home.
CU extended its season-best win streak to seven matches last week and finished the month of October undefeated at 7-0. Creighton improved to 61-11-12 in the month of October since 2002. The Jays have now gone unbeaten in five Octobers since then (2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2012).
Opponents Seeking Goals
Creighton has kept seven of its last 13 opponents off of the scoreboard this season after shutout wins vs. Missouri State (10/27), Bradley (10/20), UMKC (10/16), at UCA (10/13), vs. SIUE (10/6) and Loyola-Chicago (10/2) along with a scoreless draw at Drake (9/29).
Princeton's first goal Oct. 9 halted a Jays' opponent scoreless streak at 320:49. After the second score of that match, CU shut out opponents for 414:42 until an Evansville goal Nov. 3.
Jays' goalkeepers Alex Bolowich and Jeff Gal have combined for 10 shutouts this season.
Gomez Tabbed National Player of the Week
Senior Jose Gomez claimed Men's College Soccer National Player of the Week honors from TopDrawerSoccer.com and earned a spot on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week on Oct. 15.
The national honors for Gomez this week mark the first of his career. He is just the second CU player in the past four seasons to garner the National Player of the Week award. Departed senior Ethan Finlay claimed the honor last season on Dec. 5.
Gomez posted six points in CU's two road victories Oct. 9-13. On Oct. 13, he netted a score and an assist in a 3-0 victory at MVC foe Central Arkansas. Earlier in the week, Gomez assisted on all three Creighton goals, including the game-winning score in overtime, in a 3-2 victory at Princeton in front of a national television audience on ESPNU Tuesday, Oct. 9.
The Santa Ana, Calif., native is the first Jay to earn an assist on three CU goals in the same game since Seth Sinovic helped on three scores at Eastern Illinois on Nov. 8, 2008.
Offense Comes Alive
Creighton's 3-0 victory vs. UMKC Oct. 16 coupled with a 3-0 win at UCA Oct. 13 and the Jays' 3-2 OT win at Princeton Oct. 9 marked the first time the Jays' offense scored three or more goals in three consecutive matches since 2005.
Four Jays Represented on TopDrawerSoccer's Midseason 100 to Watch
At midseason (10/3) soccer website TopDrawerSoccer.com ranked senior Jose Gomez as the No. 3 college prospect in the country. Three other Jays also made the Top 100 as sophomore Eric Miller rated No. 32, junior Zach Barnes stood No. 75 and senior Andrew Ribeiro ranked No. 98.
Alex Bolowich Named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week
Alex Bolowich of the Creighton men's soccer team was selected Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Week for his performance during the period of Aug. 27-Sept. 2.
A sophomore from Chapel Hill, N.C., Bolowich was named to the Ameritas Classic Championship All-Tournament team, helping the Jays to a 1-1 draw with No. 7 Akron (8/31) and a 3-0 win over Rutgers (9/2).
Bolowich, who has a 3.43 cumulative grade point average in communications, allowed one goal in 200 combined minutes on the week. He held Akron to just one goal on 15 shots, despite the Zips being one of the top scoring teams in the NCAA over the past three seasons.
Flying in a Pack
The Jays set a single-match attendance record in their 2-1 loss to No. 14 Old Dominion (9/14) as 6,848 fans watched the match. That mark eclipsed the previous attendance record of 5,812, set in a match against UCLA on Sept. 8, 2007. Creighton has welcomed 27,015 fans at home this year.
Top 10 Creighton Home Crowds
1. 6,848 vs. Old Dominion, Sept. 14, 2012
2. 5,812 vs. UCLA, Sept. 8, 2007
3. 5,743 vs. Stanford (Exh.), Aug. 26, 2005
4. 5,609 vs. Missouri State, Sept. 19, 2009
5. 5,425 vs. Drexel, Sept. 4, 2011
6. 4,407 vs. Saint Louis, Aug. 31, 1997
7. 4,345 vs. Virginia (Exh.), Aug. 28, 1993
8. 4,242 vs. Fordham, Sept. 9, 2011
9. 4,071 vs. Gonzaga, Aug. 29, 2008
10. 4,029 vs. UMKC (Exh.), Aug. 27, 2004